Sealed with a kiss!

Sealed with a kiss!
Adam and Conley's Wedding at The Pavilion Photo by Katherine Miles Jones

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

"Choose your best man carefully!"

A friend of mine who is a minister in Wilmington sent me this video today that is apparently going around on the internet. It depicts a clumsy best man and what happens is very funny, but the poor bride and the minister! It is definitely a wedding day never to be forgotten by the bride and groom....and minister!

The wedding setting is beautiful and so are the lovely yellow bridesmaid dresses. One thing I do notice though is that while the minister is asking them their vows, the bride and groom are not touching in any way--just standing there with their arms and hands dangling at their sides and probably wondering what they should be doing with their hands! That looks very odd to me. After all, they are getting married and touching each other is natural!

When I am doing a wedding, I like for the bride and groom to hold hands. It is a gesture of love and support and it gives them something to do with their hands! I have found that having the bride and groom facing each other holding both hands, centered in front of me is the ideal positioning for the three of us. This way the couple can look at each other, their guests and me by just turning their heads. And, the guests get to see them in profile and not just their backs.

There are some exceptions when the bride and groom choose to do it differently, and I am okay with that too. Nicole and Jeremy chose to stand up on a landing in front of their guests with the rabbi and I down on floor level facing them with our backs to the guests. We did turn around when we were addressing the guests during the ceremony. Another way to stand in which the bride and groom can be seen from the front is where I stand to one side facing the guests and the couple stand together on the other side facing the guests. It is sort of a V formation where I stand on one leg of the V and the couple on the other. I turn so that I am almost facing them and they almost facing me. When it comes time for their vows and rings we move into the other position with the couple facing each other holding hands in front of me for the rest of the ceremony, until they turn and face their guests to be presented at the end.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Marriage Optimization!

Did you know that most couples spend more money and time preparing for their wedding than investing in the success, happiness and satisfaction of their marriage? Don't we just assume that "things will work out" or "we can make it work" or "love will see us through"?

Were you ever offered classes on how to have successful relationships in elementary, middle or high school or college? How about at church? Our beliefs about love and marriage are primarily based on models provided by our parents and other caregivers, fairy tales, novels and movies. Because of the lack of objective education/training in the area of relating to our partner, we tend to re-create marriage based on what has been modeled for us unless we consciously discover how to do it differently which usually is precipitated by some emotional pain (namely breaking up or divorce)!

As many as 67% of first marriages end in divorce within the first ten years. Most relationships fail for one of two reasons:
1) People are unaware of or choose to ignore core differences in who they are and what they want from life.
2) More importantly, people lack the skills to resolve their differences and grow through the disappointments that are inevitable in life.

Many otherwise wonderful relationships fail because people are both unaware of their differences and lack the skills to resolve them in constructive ways. Couples who wisely attend marriage preparation courses/counseling increase their ability to resolve differences and are more likely to develop happy and mutually satisfying partnerships and marriages.

Because of my own journey through divorce, I was determined to find out what it would take to create a fulfilling marriage and what a joyful and satisfying marriage looked and felt like. As a result of my quest, I now have a very joyful marriage and together my husband and I have taught classes called Creating Healthy Relationships.


After being ordained in 1997 and becoming a minister and professional wedding officiant, I began offering premarital counseling to those couples who wanted to ensure that they were starting off their marriage on the best possible foundation. I took the training for a comprehensive premarital counseling program through which I can administer an inventory to forecast how viable a couple's marriage will be if they change nothing. It is also a measure of their compatibility. Over 2 million couples have taken the inventory so it is a very stable data base. It covers all core values that need to be in sync within the coupleship. I use it as a valuable guideline in counseling couples. (I also have inventories for married couples who want to enrich their marriage, those who are cohabiting, and those with children with no plans to marry, and for couples who would like to find out if they are compatible before deciding to take their relationship to a higher level of commitment.)

My preparation for marriage program consists of you each taking an inventory I send to your email address. When you have both completed the inventory (takes about 30 minutes) your scores are put together and a relationship analysis is generated that shows the areas in which you are compatible and those areas where there may be potential for marital discord in the future.

We then schedule 3 feedback/counseling sessions for us to go over your analysis and identify and strengthen areas that if not resolved will become future pitfalls in your relationship. Each session is one to two hours in length and can be scheduled nights and weekends. I teach you conflict resolution skills, communication skills, and the best way to handle your finances in marriage. We go over any existing issues and/or new issues that may come up. Many times I find that the areas in which the survey shows you disagree are those areas which you have not yet discussed or explored in depth.

All the couples I have counseled tell me they learned so much, not only about each other, but how to deal effectively with issues that come up in the future and what to expect. A bride recently wrote on a review for WeddingWire.com: "I would also recommend Kayelily's pre-marital counseling. The counseling helped us identify our strengths and weaknesses as a couple, prepare us for things we hadn't thought about, and gave us tools for strengthening our relationship." Couples tell me that the sessions are well worth the investment for their marriage. A great deal considering that the marriage optimization program is usually less than my fee to officiate your wedding!

PS: Here is one of my happy couples on their honeymoon!

Charity Wedding Gown Sale this Weekend!!

Wanted you brides who subscribe to this blog to know about this event in case you want to buy a gorgeous name-brand or designer wedding gown at a ridiculously low price ($99 to $799)! This is a charity event called Brides Against Breast Cancer and will be held this Saturday, February 28 and Sunday, March 1 at WYNDHAM RALEIGH DURHAM RESEARCH TRIANGLE
4620 South Miami Blvd., Durham NC 2770. Phone 919.941.6006.

Saturday, NOON-7 PM
Sunday, 10 am – 5pm
FREE Admission for All Brides
First 200 Brides receive FREE Gift Bag

*****If you want first shot at all 1000 gowns, pay $20 to get in early on Saturday morning for POWER HOURS 10 AM - NOON.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Valentine's Day Weddings!

Valentine's Day--time for sweethearts and romance, engagements and weddings! This year Valentine's Day falls on a Saturday and would be a great time for a wedding.

I remember one Valentine's Day that fell on a Saturday. It was back in 2003. I did several weddings that day, traveling from one spot to another. They were all in the homes of the couple with family and close friends gathering for the occasion. One was Jennifer and Sam. It was such a sweet wedding. In the photo, you can see Jennifer's daughter, Amy on the far left. I officiated her wedding to Chris a few years later in 2005 at the Cardinal Club and Jennifer was her matron of honor. That was a great wedding too. It was a sunset and the setting was fabulous with the grand chandelier and the sunset in the background. Amy had the most gorgeous wedding gown and a bouquet of purple orchids.

Another wedding I did on Valentine's Day in 2003 was for Lynn and John. Their little dog, Tarbaby was part of the wedding! He is in the photo in the lower left hand corner. I found out that both these couples were taking their guests to Caffe Luna afterwards to celebrate their marriage. So two couples I married on the same day ended up celebrating together at the same place. Amazing! I recently ran into Lynn and John at the church I attend, Unity Church of the Triangle. It was great to see them again and now I see them often! Found out too that I had married another couple Christmas of 2007 who were their friends--Sally and Ken (see photo to left). It is truly a small world.

Ironically I just got a call from the mother of a bride who wants to get married on Valentine's Day so writing this post must have sent out the message that I was available before it was even published!

A Grateful Thumb's up to Nail Care!

Since I don't have any weddings on my calendar until February 28th, I thought I would take this free time to blog about other aspects of weddings behind the scenes. So, this post is about NAILS!

For years I struggled with my nails to get them to look nice for wedding ceremonies and in the wedding photos. Go take a look at the website of any wedding photographer and you will see that the minister's hands are in many of the pictures. When I make the pronouncement of marriage in ceremonies, I place my right hand on top of the couple's hands. My natural nails are not strong and tend to separate into layers and I never could get them to the same length at the same time! Sound familiar? I tried regular manicures. I took supplements. I tried acrylic nails several times throughout the years and was always disappointed and vowed I would never try them again! Acrylic nails always felt funny--as if they were lifting my natural nails off--and the process of sanding down my natural nails was painful. Then I discovered gel nails and Nail Care almost three years ago. I found out that the natural look of these nails was dependent on a skilled nail stylist who could apply the gel thinly and evenly and had the artistic eye to make them look natural.

I was so happy to be referred to Brian Truong and Vina Huynh of Nail Care in 2006 and I have been going there regularly ever since. I usually see Vina but when she was on maternity leave, Brian (her husband, by the way) subbed for her. They both make my nails look so natural-- not thick and artificial looking like acrylic nails are. The gel fills I get every two weeks are not painful in any way and they don't damage my natural nails. They feel like my own nails. I get a French manicure but with the not so white tip so they look more natural.

Because the bride's hands and those of the bridesmaids are in wedding photos, I can highly recommend you go see Vina and Brian to do your nails for your wedding and I am sure you will love them so much you will continue! By the way tell your fiance that my husband, Dave, goes with me once in a while to get a pedicure and manicure while I am getting a gel fill. At first Dave was shy about getting his nails done but now he just loves to be pampered!

Nail Care is located at the corner of Strickland and Falls of Neuse Road in Raleigh. They are around the corner from Kroger facing Strickland. The phone is (919) 676-2333. My family knows that they can give me a gift certificate to Nail Care for any occasion and I will be happy! I love to give gift certificates to Nail Care to my friends and family as well. I never worry about my nails any more!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

January wedding for Lisa and Victor!

Marty, my assistant, and I arrived in Durham for the wedding of Lisa and Victor at about 2:45. The wedding was supposed to begin at 3:00 but Victor and his mother who had flown into Raleigh from Puerto Rico for the occasion were delayed in arriving for about 45 minutes. This was because Victor's 4 year old son, Victor, was not feeling well and they had to stop several times between Raleigh and Durham to take care of him. Thankfully, I did not have any other weddings that afternoon and was able to wait.

When they finally arrived, the guests were seated and we pinned the boutonniere on Victor and got started at 4:00. The room was packed with their family and friends who had very patiently waited for this ceremony. Balloons and streamers decorated the room and a lovely wedding cake awaited them. Lisa was escorted in by her father who transferred her hand into Victor's. During the ceremony we honored their parents and their children--Victor's two boys, Victor and Kevin, and Lisa's son, James. After the vows and rings, we had the sand ceremony but James refused to pour his sand and Kevin and Victor were too small. So, Victor and Lisa combined their sand then their sons' sand in the family unity sand ceremony. I made the pronouncement and they kissed as their guests cheered! It all turned out very well despite the unexpected delay and I know Lisa and Victor and their three sons are all very happy to be together as a family now. All the best to all of you!